Cover image for Mirth of a nation : the best contemporary humor
Mirth of a nation : the best contemporary humor
Rosen, Michael J., 1954-
First edition.
Publication Information:
[New York] : Perennial, [2000]

Physical Description:
xv, 619 pages ; 21 cm
General Note:
Includes index.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PN6162 .M54 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
PN6162 .M54 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks
PN6162 .M54 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf

On Order



Seriously Funny Writing By Today's Most Celebrated Authors

At last, a premier showcase of fifty-four great literary humorists and masters of the journalistic jab, the social spoof, the parodic proof, the satire, the tirade, and the send-up. Here are those "last laughs" and "wit's end" pieces everyone turns to first but then loses in back issues of favorite magazines and newspapers, including:

Merrill Markoeon Networking with angels Garry Trudeau on re-retranslating Madonna David Sedaris on reviewing school Christmas Plays John Updike on cross-dressing with J. Edgar Hoover

Also included are riotous contributions from Henry Alford, Jon Stewart, and David Ives, as well as millennial maxims by Mark O'Donnell, gardening advice by Mertensia Corydalis, and highlights from Randy Cohen's savvy "News Quiz."

Brought to you by The Thurber House

Author Notes

Michael J. Rosen was born on Septembr 20, 1954 in Ohio. After getting his MFA in poetry, Rosen started work as a design consultant for the Jefferson Center for Learning and the Arts in 1982. In 1983, he became the literary director of the Thurber House in Columbus, Ohio. During his near-twenty-year stay as literary director, Rosen was the editor for several compilations of James Thurber's writings; he also was involved in the creation of the Thurber Prize for American Humor. Rosen has also "taught in the Ohio Art Council Poetry-in-the-Schools Program and Greater Columbus Arts Council Artist-in-the-Schools Program, and has conducted over 500 young authors' conferences, in-service days, writing workshops, guest author days, and residencies (for elementary, middle school, and high school students and teachers). He has acted as editor for Mirth of a Nation and 101 Damnations: The Humorists' Tour of Personal Hells, and his poetry has been featured in The Best American Poetry 1995.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 1

Booklist Review

Capitalizing on the current renaissance of American humor, editor Rosen has assembled more than 50 top wisecrackers, most represented by two or three short works. Included are veterans like Dave Barry, Roy Blount Jr., and Fran Lebowitz, and rising stars like David Sedaris, Sandra Tsing Loh, Patricia Marx, and David Rakoff. Though many of the pieces have been published or broadcast previously, some appear in this volume for the first time--notably Bonnie Abbott's "Zone 5: Gardening Advice by Mertensia Corydalis," a character who's a cross between Martha Stewart and Dr. Laura but with personal axes to grind. Another standout is Chris Harris' "Design Intervention," which modestly proposes to settle world disputes through more aesthetic border redesign ("Our primary goal, remember, is a beautiful world map"). Also, Jon Stewart's monologue by a catty waiter at the Last Supper is a small miracle. Thanks to McSweeney's editor Dave Eggers, even the book's submission guidelines and "A Note about the Type" tickle ribs. This volume, the first in a planned series, will be a welcome companion on the commuter train, at the beach, during a hospital stay--and, naturally, at the Reference Desk. --James Klise

Table of Contents

Michael J. RosenAl Franken
Introductionp. 1
"You'll Never Groom Dogs in This Town Again!"p. 9
Cafe Manhattanp. 27
The Young Man and the Seap. 30
How to Be Difficultp. 36
The Yanni Filesp. 43
A Prayer for Bill Clintonp. 46
Independence Dayp. 49
Parlez-Vous Francais?p. 53
An Aesthetically Challenged American in Paris (Part II)p. 56
You Could Look Me Up ... Sometimep. 62
I Go to Golf Schoolp. 70
A Graceland for Adolfp. 83
Upcoming House Votesp. 86
Let's Hear It for Cheerleadersp. 89
Lapses of Photographic Memoriesp. 93
A Year-Round Tan for the Askingp. 96
The Bane of Every Vacation: Souvenirsp. 99
Memo from Coachp. 105
As I Was Saying to Henry Kissinger...p. 108
Away from It Allp. 118
Give One for the Teamp. 121
God, Help Me!p. 125
Autumn of the Matriarchp. 128
Future Schlockp. 137
What We Told the Kidsp. 146
Un Caballo in Mascherap. 148
The Midwest: Where Is It?p. 154
Come Stay with Usp. 158
Desert Surprise: Saddam Picks Billp. 162
Return Saddam's Limo ... Now!p. 165
Laws Concerning Food and Drink; Household Principles; Lamentations of the Fatherp. 170
Flowers of Evil: Ask Charles Baudelairep. 175
Authors with the Mostp. 178
Long Day's Journey into Absp. 181
Yankee, Come Homep. 185
A Good Man Is Hard to Keep: The Correspondence of Flannery O'Connor and S. J. Perelmanp. 191
Testing, Testing...p. 197
The Cheese Stands Alonep. 201
Post-Euphoriap. 204
Why Are Kids So Dumb?p. 213
Clarificationsp. 218
What We talk About When We Talk About Little Green Menp. 223
Design Interventionp. 225
Too Late to Become a Gondolier?p. 232
Me and My Delusionsp. 236
Eating the Deskp. 239
Into the Giga Junglep. 242
The Hidden Life of Rocksp. 248
Degas, C'est Moip. 252
You Say Tomato, I Say Tomorrowp. 256
Chicken a la Descartesp. 261
Even More Memoirs by Even More McCourtsp. 265
Love Bugp. 269
More Mergersp. 272
Rejected Pollsp. 275
Josh Kornbluth
Driving Mr. Crazyp. 280
Red Diaper Babyp. 286
Moneyp. 298
Troutp. 314
Jumpin' Jiminyp. 318
Space Travel Foodp. 321
Piscopo Agonistesp. 325
The Way of the Earp. 338
Eleventh-Hour Bridep. 343
I Network with Angelsp. 347
Phone Hexp. 353
Birthdays: So Now What?p. 356
Things That Are Confusingp. 364
How and Why Book of Magnetsp. 368
Joyce Maynard Looking Backp. 375
Bad Numbersp. 380
Sunken Treasurep. 384
One Guy's TVp. 387
After This Word from Motel 3p. 392
O.J.: The Trial of the Next Centuryp. 395
Scrambling for Dollarsp. 401
Gambling in the Schoolsp. 405
Diary of a Geniusp. 410
TV Guide, Soonp. 414
My Genetic Memoriesp. 426
The Last Publicist on Earthp. 429
Memoir Essayp. 436
Marchp. 441
No Strings Attachedp. 460
Ferret-Facep. 463
Barnes Ennobledp. 468
T.G.I.Y2K!p. 472
All Happy Families...p. 479
Christmas Freudp. 483
El Nino Has a Headachep. 491
In New England Everyone Calls you Davep. 495
The Million Millionaires Marchp. 502
Wing Tsup. 505
T. S. Eliot Interactivep. 509
Buy Mep. 513
Rejected Celebrity Cab Announcementsp. 517
Conspir-U.S.-cy Historyp. 521
Dysfunctional Adult Education Cataloguep. 524
The All-Purpose Concession Speechp. 534
Front Row Center with Thaddeus Bristolp. 539
Humor Thy Fatherp. 544
Khmer Rouep. 547
Taking the A Train to Early Retirementp. 550
A Few Notes on Sex Educationp. 555
The Last Supper, or The Dead Waiterp. 561
Pen Palsp. 567
I Am a Tip-Top Starletp. 578
To Our Valued Customersp. 581
Getting Over Getting Stonedp. 584
Manifestop. 587
Glad Ragsp. 590
From: Corporate Communications at CRT301p. 593
A Note About the Editorp. 597
A Note About the Typep. 599
Indexp. 601
About the Contributorsp. 605